Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baby Biker Hoodie

The red baby sweater I've been knitting is finally finished! The pattern is here. I changed the ribbed edging to seed stitch, and I added a little bike vrooming down one sleeve. Perfect for a bike ride on a cool evening.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Woodland Critter Christmas: More Edibles

One of my siblings is gluten-free, one is allergic to dairy, and one is vegan, so it can sometimes be hard to find foods that everyone can eat (veggie curry with coconut milk is our fallback). But it won't be hard during Woodland Critter Christmas, thanks to trail mix! I'm thinking maybe a make-your-own-trail-mix bar.

I've always I (and I mean always... I've got the toddler birthday party photos to prove it) had a thing for nut cups. How could you not? They're so adorable and versatile. I can't think of a more perfect way to serve trail mix. Note to self: start scoping out the cutest nut cups you can find.

This is not trail mix or nut cup related, but it's a little piece of Woodland inspiration as the season tiptoes closer and closer. Can't you see it tied around white candles, or wrapped around packages?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Woodland Critter Christmas Edibles

Kate asks what we're going to eat for Woodland Critter Christmas. It's up in the air right now, but we're not planning to eat forest friends... we're going to eat foods inspired by them! Although we might have rabbit stew, now that I think of it.

We usually make a Yule log (a cake in the shape of a log, decorated with little meringue mushrooms), but this year we'll be having... wait for it... a Yule HOG, as in Hedgehog! Like this one:

Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Christmas Prep... a little early

Karl and I were at my mom's house recently, and my little sister was paging through a British home and garden magazine (Mom, don't throw that magazine away!). She spotted an adorable wool mouse paperweight. It was something like these:

Cute, huh? We had to fight our initial impulse to create one on-the-spot because we were short on time, but the little mouse paperweight in that magazine has become the inspiration for what is sure to be the best holiday season ever. Last year, we celebrated with "Holiday Thai-dings: Christmas in the Peanut Gallery" which of course was delicious. Two years ago, our theme was "Feliz Navidad: A Mexican Christmas." Nothing like three kinds of enchiladas to get you in the holiday spirit! But this year, we've got the theme to end all themes and I cannot wait to start working on it:

Woodland Critter Christmas

Can you even imagine all the fun we're going to have crafting woodland critter ornaments, gifts, and food? I've already gone through my knitting books and marked the patterns for squirrels, mice, foxes, and bears, and I may have ordered one teensy little thing today... well, okay, two things...

Pewter buttons from my favorite online knitting shop. Don't they just scream Woodland Critter? Perfect.

Want to see the inside of my fridge?

No, you don't. But I'll let you, just this once, so I can show off my new purchase in action:

The other day, Karl announced that we needed a butter dish (apparently the bare stick of butter on the salad plate in the fridge didn't cut it), so I jumped on the opportunity to cruise around etsy and find the perfect one. And it is adorable. Vintage Pyrex with a sweet design. Why did we go so long without this? I'm in love.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Super Sweet Thrift Find

Karl and I stopped by the St. Vincent de Paul Dig-and-Save outlet on Saturday to donate a box of stuff. It's this great thrift shop where everything is in huge troughs and customers pay by the pound. Of course, we couldn't leave without going in and peeking around for bargains... and we found one! This huge enamel stockpot was just waiting for us. It had something burned to the bottom, but after a little vinegar soak, it's good as new!

Oh, and the price was fantastic: One dollar and eleven cents. Can you believe it? This pot is so perfect for canning. Before we know it, it'll be filled with strawberry jam!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Garage Sale Finds

On Thursday morning, I rode my bike to work. On my way, I passed two yard sales. Of course I had to stop! I picked up two planters (a red one that will be perfect for basil, and a sweet little blue and white one for a small houseplant), a very small glass measuring cup marked with ounces, teaspoons, and tablespoons, two Snoopy figurines (I have a few of these from when I was little, and these are perfect to add to my collection!), and six Hallmark pins (also joining a collection from my childhood).

Check on the little elf nestled in a leaf. Total gem right there. Love it.

This was definitely my best garage sale shopping day of the year so far, especially because it was so unexpected!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Once in a Lifetime

Every day, on my way to the bus stop, I use a sidewalk that crosses a Starbucks drive-through exit. All of the cars leaving the drive-through are turning right (it's a divided road, so they can only turn right), so the drivers typically only look to the left, to watch for an opening in traffic. Since I approach on the drivers' right, they don't see me. Sometimes I'm in the middle of the exit as they pull away from the window, and they still don't see me. Who knew people could be so focused on their coffee and the traffic coming from the left? Anyway, I usually manage to either jump out of the way or wave my arms enough for them to stop. It's an adventurous way to start the day, almost getting run over. Today, though, the woman who almost hit me with her truck actually stopped, rolled down the window, and apologized profusely. This has never happened before. It was great! Usually people either ignore me even more, nod at me (are they expecting me to nod back?), give me the finger, or say something nasty out the window to me. "Watch where you're going!" is a phrase I hear a lot. But an apology was like a whole new world. Truly, I wanted to hug the woman. Next time I accidentally almost kill someone, I'm going to apologize, just because I know how good it feels to be on the other side. Isn't that called paying it forward?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We CAN Do It!

Last week I was on a CAN-struction team with other city workers. It was part of a huge canned food drive for a local charity. A bunch of teams from different organizations in the area competed to see who could build the most amazing structure out of canned goods. Here's a photo of our platform as we started to build in the morning.

And here is our finished product:

It's a chair and an ottoman, in case you couldn't tell. Our structure was significantly lamer than some of the others because we followed the rules, which stated that you weren't allowed to use structural supports. Humph. We didn't end up with a prize (though I unofficially gave us the "Rule Followers of the Year" award), but it was lots and lots of fun. Here are some of the other structures. See if you can spot their supports! None in ours, thank you very much.

Stamp out hunger... get it?... STAMP....

It's Cinderella's castle! It lit up, and Cinderella and the prince are even in attendance. Do you see them down towards the bottom, in the middle of the upside-down V?

Bunsen and Beaker... Karl and I agreed that this was our favorite.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garage Sale Goodies

I hit a few yard sales this morning before work! Most were duds, but I found these treasures:
  • Two large corkboards for work for 50 cents apiece
  • A Topsy-Turvy tomato planter (I've wanted to try one! I know you can make one out of a bucket or a plastic bag, but I'm lazy) for 50 cents
  • A complete Badge-a-Minit kit for work (including a circle cutter and two presses) for two dollars
  • A Yogitoes yoga mat cover for one dollar (I have one, but it gets so sweaty during class that it's hard to wash it fast enough)
  • I also scored a stocking stuffer for Karl- new, in package- for one dollar. I can't tell you what it is because he might read this and ruin the surprise! He'll just have to wait till next Christmas to find out! xo

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I sold my first item on etsy!

I haven't made a big announcement about my etsy shop yet because I wanted to get it stocked with a bunch of goodies first. But get this-- someone already bought a book from my shop! I got the email this morning and I could not believe it. Especially because the book the person bought was the one with by far the worst photos of all of the books in my shop. But it is such a great book. See for yourself...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ten on Ten: May 2011

Sweet score from the library book sale :: Getting ready for storytime :: Storytime cleanup :: The city's can-struction team, building a chair out of canned goods for a contest later in the week (this was our trial run and it went really well! Look out, other teams!) :: A treat for my awesome volunteer whose last day was today... somehow this managed to sit uneaten on my desk all day! :: 'Tween knitters in my hat workshop show off their handiwork :: I got home to find my wonderful husband working in the yard (he doesn't always have that cheesy smile on his face... only when I say, "Smile really big!") :: His big accomplishment this week, clearing out tons and tons of bluebells from our backyard (They're weeds! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!) :: The seeds in our garden boxes are sprouting! Hello, spinach, lettuce, and herbs! :: An evening swim

More Ten on Ten here... link up and play next month on the 10th!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


What did you do on Saturday afternoon? I went on an 18-mile bike scavenger hunt around Madison with a team of 7 hot chicks from my go-go dance group. We had to bike around to different points in the city , performing some type of task at each station. The weather was perfect. We may have busted out some of our dance moves once or twice... maybe.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jessie Spano wrote a book!

Remember Jessie, the nerdy beauty on Saved by the Bell? She's an author now. And the book looks great... check it out here.

Mother's Day

My mom came over yesterday! Here's what was waiting for her:

Karl and I made Swedish pancakes and a spinach, mushroom, and asparagus frittata. We gave my mom some fun little surprises, including a few items we brought home from Italy (my favorite was the lavender honey... she loves lavender).

Naturally, I took zero photos of my mom, so you'll have to use your imagination. Just picture me with darker hair and a little bit older (just a little bit!). Sometimes I see pictures of my mom when she was in college or in her 30's and I think, "I don't remember wearing that outfit" because I think it's me! True story.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

'Tweens Have More Fun... don't they?

I have a display unit at work that houses the new 'tween fiction and nonfiction. It's fabulous-- the perfect spot to display all of our new goodies. Most upper elementary kids go straight to this shelf to find the latest and greatest titles for checkout. When I ordered the display unit, I was very specific: I wanted a slatwall panel for displaying a few books face-out (awesome; they fly off the shelves... can we re-do the entire library in slatwall?) and a bulletin board on one end for promotional posters, newsy items, and just plain fun. Turns out I'm not so great at creating promotional posters, newsy items, or just plain fun. I'm good at making one thing and leaving it up for a long time. Then when I take it down, I'm really good at letting the bulletin board sit empty for a while. That was the case earlier in the week, until yesterday when I decided it was time to put something up. This (don't laugh) is what I came up with:

Yes, those letters are cut out of discarded dictionary pages. And yes, that posterboard is full of thumbtack holes from being re-used. But no, the bulletin board isn't empty anymore... that's the good news.

'Tweens really do have more fun... but you'd never know it by this excruciatingly boring poster.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yesterday was the best day ever.

We could have cleaned the garage and gone grocery shopping. But instead, we rode our bikes over to Karl's grandma's house, then went to the park and flew kites. It was perfect.